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Ten Acres Is Enough

Post in 'The Green Room' started by jebatty, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    Here are some pics of our raised bed garden at the beginning of a season and the new, traditional, garden area.

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  2. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    New garden area

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  3. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    That is stunning...I'm glad my wife wasn't looking over my shoulder.
  4. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    Thanks. You should see the new garden area now - loosing battle against weeds big time. Two more rows of spuds to harvest, then the bulk of it will get rototilled.
  5. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Having started this thread, really glad to see the interest it sparked. Our garden right now is two 5 x 25 plots, double dug, 100% organic. Never walk on the garden itself. Each year just top dress with some compost, and that's it. Using heritage seeds for most things, and save some crop for seed for next year's crop. I'm still taking it really easy, as getting burned out on taking care of a garden is not my goal. Just broccoli, carrots, beans, lettuce, squash and cucumber this year, with some early season radishes. We get some really dry spells, so a drip irrigation system is the goal for next year.
  6. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    jebatty - glad that you saw your thread took off. Our gardens are 100% organic as well and we grow everything (well, try to grow) from heirloom seed.

    Back to your original post - how did your family react to you peak oil letter? Did it influence them to increase the level of self-sufficiency?
  7. woodsman23

    woodsman23 Minister of Fire

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    I have a 63 acre place in western ny and i lived in the city for many many years. We bought the land 10 acres at first then more and more as time went on. I hated the city life and it was getting worse all the time. We (wife and I) said so many time that we were going to move but we just never did. Finally one day i said i was going to build a cabin at the land and noone was going to stop me.

    I had no idea on how to build a home BUT i mhad freinds that did and they love to hunt and i had tons of huntin g spots just for them if they helped build. Well spring came and i began, Had the road and site put in by local farmer for 900 bucks (way cheap). We began building the cabin and while building everyone had ideas for bigger better longer wider. So instead of just a cabin we now had a 2 story "cabin" with a 14x20 addition being built as a mud room and we had a ball doing it. It took almost 1.5 years of weekends to get it done but it is finished.

    It was then i said to my wife it's now or never and she okay and we moved there and have been nothing short of amased every day, it is a great way of life, no traffic, no people near, no noise except nature it has been great.

    We live there full time and i have huge garden, lots of game a pellet stove and wood stove. We are 20% solar withy more coming. I have a natural spring which has been tapped to the house with water temp year round at 48 degrees, we have a spetic (put in myself) Only thing we have is property taxes of a ~1800 a year.
  8. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    63 acres makes me drool. That is great - do you still commute to the city for work? We've talked of moving out, but there's the tradeoff - proximity to employment vs. lost time commuting.
  9. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    It will only get worse as you get your property completely set up for the way you want to live. I assume you didn't build those raised beds for resale value?
  10. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    Thanks @perplexed and @timfromohio for the reminder about Scott Nearing. He was quite a principled man. Aside from his politics, which largely make sense to me, his advocacy of self sufficiency, including organic farming, are also quite inspiring. I'm happy for you guys who have the nice gardens and are to some extent self- supporting for food. You and your families will live longer and more satisfying lives.

    One of my best little kid (age 11) memories is that one year when a friend of my father allowed me to garden on their historic estate a half mile down the road. It was truly awesome, the quality and quantity of vegetables we pulled from that garden. I'll never forget it. That land must have laid fallow a long time.

    I'm a bit too old now to build such an estate personally, but could probably find such a situation where I could trade skills and work for a small share of garden and woodlot. In fact, I have about half of that today- a good friend allows me to harvest dead standing and dead fall from his acreage. Lucky for me, he is no longer a wood burner.
  11. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    SolarAndWood - yes, constant dilemma in my mind. I would like to plant fruit and nut trees as well as creat additional row-type garden areas so I can try some small-scale crop rotation and grow things like corn and potatoes in bulk. Then I think "how much do I want to put into this property?". Flip side to this is that in the area we live (Cleveland-Akron area) land is ridiculously expensive and property taxes are even more outrageous. I presently commute 12.5 miles from my house to work on mostly back quasi-country roads. The drive takes me 20 to 25 minutes. I could probably afford 10 to 20 acres but then we'd be driving A LOT more. 45 minutes to work, much less convenient for wife to go food shopping or take kids to doctors appointments, church, etc. Property taxes might be a bit cheaper, but we'd quickly make up the difference in gas money. Further, I'm not NEOhio is where I'd pick to settle anyway. Would prefer a lower population-density area, but then there are no jobs in those areas (at least none for people with my skillset - engineer, employment tends to be focused on pockets throughout the country where industry is located). The only good solution I can think of is to hit the lottery. I can then execute operation "endless Saturday". For the long-term, I want to make sure my kids know how to produce some of their own food, how to heat with wood, lots of hands-on tangible skills. I will encourage them towards professions which are more geographically independent - seems to me a tax accountant or pharmacist would have more greater geographic flexibility.

    Cluttermagnet-I enjoyed reading the Nearing's book too. I found it humorous that they wound up leaving Vermont b/c they found they just couldn't build the kind of community with neighbors that they wanted to (those flat-landahs). There work day philosophy was interesting too - something like 4 hours of work for the homestead to produce income, 4 hours to improvements on the homestead or work in the community, and 4 hours for personal time - art, music, reading, etc. Sounds like a nice split, eh? Regarding your firewood situation, free wood is the best kind!!!! Your fond memories of gardening gives me some hope for my kids. I try to get them as involved as possible - they help plant seeds and grow the seedlings, set them out, harvest. We grew potatoes for the first time which they thought was awesome. They helped plant, then when harvest time came I turned over the plants and they took turns digging for the tubers - amazed that they could get 4 or 5 tubers from a plant that grew from just a section of a seed potato. They got to see the whole process - how to plant, tend, harvest, store, then eat.
  12. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    One more point I tend to overlook regarding the desire for more land - reality!!! Truth be told, we have yet to really tap into the potential of the 1.78 acres we have. Not sure where the time would come from to manage more. Oh well, it's still fund to fantasize about ...
  13. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    I'm with you on that Tim. It will be a long time before we are feeling constrained by our 1.55 acre lot. In the meantime, we have a 4 mile commute and a city full of hardwoods that are a quick and easy scrounge away. Who needs 20 acres of woods for fuel when I have already brought 3 cords home this week and have another cord to pick up this afternoon.
  14. Hakusan

    Hakusan New Member

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    Most reading I have done suggests somewhere between 5 and 10 acres will give enough wood to last a lifetime. That depends on the ability of the forest to regenerate itself (latitude, soil condition, tree species, etc) and how much you are cutting off (read: heating efficiency of the home). The other number I read suggests wood growth per acre is 1/3 to 1/2 a cord in unmanaged woodland. There may be methods to live on a smaller lot. The Europeans used copicing to provide a continuous source of firewood.
  15. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    A budget is a real key to making any new life work. A few hints, which may or may not meet expectations. Clothing needs easily are met by garage sales and second had stores. I live in a rural area 12 miles from the nearest town. A local second hand store meets all of my clothing needs. In fact, for $10 you can fill a whole paper grocery bag with whatever you can stuff into it. I hardly remember buying new clothes. Last year I spent less than $100 on my clothing, including shoes. Some years I have been less than $50.

    Food can work out well too. A co-op 20 miles away meets all of our flour, oatmeal, dry fruits, nuts, spices, dry milk (cooking), and cheese needs. As members ($5/yr), we buy at cost + 10%. If I volunteer to work at least 1 day a month, cost + 5%. Hunting (venison) has replaced beef in our household, plus some fishing, a few grouse, and more if a person is interested. All spare time, even recreational, activities.

    I rarely buy any lumber, nearly all needs met from trees on our land. I just head to the lumber storage shed and pick a board(s) I need (rough sawn), edge and plane as needed. Much else of what is needed I buy from internet resources. Internet: almost all of the plumbing fittings, circ, etc., to install the Tarm gasification boiler, electronics as needed, and most everything you don't have to try on for fit. And UPS delivers in about 3 days, no gas for travel or shopping, and no wasted time. For example, my computer power supply blew up two weeks ago on a Saturday, I ordered a new power supply over the net on Sunday morning for $25 incl shipping, delivered on Thurs, and the computer was back in operation.

    My coffee, beans purchased at the co-op and ground at home, fresh brewed every morning, will match any *arbucks brew for a fraction of the price. A good drink made from sumac berries, with a shot of vodka, gin or rum, hardly can be beat. Chokecherries fresh picked, or juneberries, raspberries, all wild, in season, are a delight. Hazel nuts picked in fall. Won't supply full food needs by far, but fabulous treats.

    Getting together with neighbors for games on a cold winter night, probably something you might only have read about, are favorites. All potluck, of course, expense for really fun parties is really small.

    I've only touched on a few things. The list is long. There is plenty of quality of life to be enjoyed if a person is willing to free him/her self from over-civilization.
  16. BucksCoBernie

    BucksCoBernie New Member

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    Nicely said! I gotta find me some sumac berries and try that with gin.

    Anyone catch Renovation Nation when the host visited a farm in NH (i think). They felled a tree with a 2 person saw, had oxen pull it out to the dirt road where it was loaded up onto a sled pulled by 2 horses. The horses took it to a lake, they dumped the logs into the water where it floated up stream to the farm's sawmill. The saw was powered by the water in the lake. The sawmill was built in the 1830s with the current saw setup going back to 1891. They cut some 8x8 timbers for a barn. It was awesome.

    Here's a pic of the peppers i picked this morning. some bell, jalapeno, and cayenne. I just finished making some hot pepper jelly. first time making anything like that...im hoping it turns out fine.

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  17. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    BucksCoBernie - those are some fine looking peppers! Keep us posted on the jelly. My wife made a bunch of strawberry freezer jam - anthing made at home beats store stuff.

    JeBatty-I hear you on the second hand stores. My wife is a regular at garage sales and the local goodwill, especially for our kids. They grow out of things quickly which makes buying new stuff seem silly. Plus, I have two boys - constant adventure, rough-housing, etc. Most clothes have been designated "play clothes", ie-outside adventure approved. I like your suggestions of getting together with neighbors too - cold winter night ... by the stove!

    SolarAndWood - 4 miles is incredible! Is there a lot of traffic - can you ride a bike? Being close does have its benefits. The woodlot idea is romantic in a sense, but probably a lot more work than what we do as scroungers. I've been fortunate enough to get quite a few loads from a tree service this year. The tree guy is very happy to give me the wood as he doesn't have to haul/dispose of it, and all do is show up to a stack of wood already cut to length. A true "win-win".
  18. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    We are in the country and don't have much traffic. I think this has happened largely because of topography. We are 6 or 700 ft above downtown. Most of the development went north which is very flat and easy to bulldoze. My wife does all her training rides out the driveway. Except the ones that call for flat rides.

    I have a similar deal going with a tree guy. I brought home 4 loads this week better than a cord each of ready to split rounds. Each trip takes me about an hour and a half and is 9 miles roundtrip.
  19. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Pick and rinse the sumac berries in fall when they are bright red. Then boil and mash, strain (lots of little hairy fibers), sweeten to taste and add whatever you want (if nothing, a lot like pink lemonade). Guests will wonder what you used for the drink.
  20. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    Getting back to the original topic (sorry - I've enjoyed reading all of the posts!)....

    My wife and I are originally from upstate NY and the midwest. We've lived in a NYC bedroom community for 20+ years now, but never bought into the lifestyle. A few years ago, we bought an old house in the village she grew up in, and are gradually transitioning to "phase 2" of our lives. Phase 1 = save everything you can, and live simply. Phase 2 - finish the mortgage payoff, accumulate cash, transition to a more rural life. Phase 3 - take over the family farm when her father is no longer of this earth.

    So far so good. The first 20 years were tough, but it's going fast now. I look forward to the full Phase 3.

    This posts reminds me (again) why we are doing what we are. Others have the same thoughts.
  21. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    DBoon - excellent post and good plan. Will your rural life be in NY? How many acres will your homestead consist of? Like I indicated in other posts - we have yet to make full use of our whopping 1.78 acres, but I still enjoy hearing about what others do on larger farms/homesteads and how they got there.
  22. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    Right now, small home in a village - 1/4 acre lot. My wife is hear 2/3 of the year, and I am here on weekends and holidays/vacations. About 1000 square feet of garden, and small wood stove.

    Future - 50+ acres and medium size house just outside of the same village (walking distance). Half wood lot, half fields, from a river to a peak. Nice combination of a little bit of everything.
  23. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    You can have 50 acres and still be walking distance from the village? Small village or fast walker?
  24. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    That's the advantage of upstate NY versus Westchester County, NY! There are people here with 10 acres and in the village.
  25. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    What a great thread; thanks Jebatty.

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